Trump Organization seeks hefty tax break for Westchester golf club

PHOTO: Atmosphere at the 10th Annual Eric Trump Foundation Golf Invitational at Trump National Golf Club Westchester, Sept. 19, 2016, in Briarcliff Manor, New York.PlayBobby Bank/Getty Images
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The Trump Organization wants its tax bill cut in half at one of its high-end golf clubs, part of a longstanding Trump practice of using legal challenges and appeals to lower his corporate tax bills.

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President Donald Trump’s company, now run by his adult sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, has requested a property tax break of a quarter of a million dollars for the Trump National Golf Club, Westchester, in the village of Briarcliff Manor, New York, according to town officials.

The legal challenge is meeting with opposition from many citizens who resent having to assume the burden of paying additional taxes to support town services and the local school district.

“It is very difficult when you see someone who has all these assets at his disposal who would rather pay lawyers to avoid his civic duty of paying taxes,” said Gloria Fried, the receiver of taxes for Ossining, a Democrat, who also collects taxes for the village of Briarcliff Manor.

PHOTO: Atmosphere at the 8th Annual Eric Trump Golf Tournament at Trump National Golf Club Westchester, Sept. 15, 2014, in Briarcliff Manor, New York.Bobby Bank/Getty Images
Atmosphere at the 8th Annual Eric Trump Golf Tournament at Trump National Golf Club Westchester, Sept. 15, 2014, in Briarcliff Manor, New York.

According to Fried, the Trump Organization filed a tax grievance on Tuesday with the town assessor’s office in Ossining, valuing the course at $7.5 million, or half of the $15.1 million the town calculates should be the tax basis for the course. This is the same course, spread over 143 acres in Westchester County, that presidential candidate Donald Trump listed on his publicly-filed financial disclosure report as being worth $50 million in 2016.

The move is consistent with repeated efforts by the Trump Organization to challenge the valuation of the property in an effort to win massive tax reductions. In 2016, Trump’s lawyer initially claimed in a grievance the property was worth only $1.35 million, even though the tax assessors rated it at $15 million.

Fried said that in past years, the Trump Organization has paid their taxes -- which are still being litigated for 2015 and 2016 in local courts -- with checks stamped: “Paid Under Protest.”

Trump bought the property at a foreclosure sale for $8 million and reportedly spent $45 million to build the 18-hole golf course and luxury housing development. In 2008, town officials say, the golf club received a reduction in its assessment from $38 million to $16 million.”

On June 14, Donald Trump’s birthday, residents of Briarcliff Manor held a protest march to complain about the Trump Organization’s tactics.

“Even people who are Trump supporters say: ‘You have to fight this,’” Ossining town supervisor Dana Levenberg, a Democrat, told ABC News. “[We are] carrying the burden to support these tony golf courses which have some of the most sought after tee times in the country.”

Neither Trump’s lawyer in the matter nor a spokesperson for the Trump Organization responded to requests for comment from ABC News.

Allan Dodds Frank is a longtime business investigative reporter and ABC News contributor who reports on white collar crime, complex litigation, and the intersection of global business, politics and diplomacy.

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